Rafting the Noguera Pallaresa in Catalonia

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White-rafting in Catalonia….in September…how hard could it be?

The day I rafted the Noguera Pallaresa in Catalonia I realized something. You should never, never ask yourself this question. It’s asking for trouble. It’s tempting the universe – and in case you didn’t know…the universe wins….always.

Apparently, though I’m a slow learner. I had asked myself that very same question only the day before when the opportunity to do a via Ferrata presented itself.

And although the fun activity ended well, the process of getting there sure wasn’t pretty! And yet, what did I do the very next day? I reasoned with myself I only had two goals 1)Not to get soaked, 2)Not to get thrown out of the raft. How difficult could it be?

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What I Expected of the Noguera Pallaresa

It was near this tranquil spot our guide told us we could get out and for a swim if we were so inclined. Two brave souls took him up on his challenge, braving the frigid waters. I was not one of them. See goal #1 above.

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Very peaceful and scenic part of the river.

We continued on down the slow-moving, but scenic river valley. The big grins splashed on our face was perhaps a precursory to something else that would soon be on our faces:

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Starting off our rafting voyage

The Noguera Pallaresa turned to class 3 rapids. A bit more adventure, but still a blast. Everyone is still smiling!:

white water on the Noguera Pallaresa River, but still having a blast.

That’s me on the left, second from the front, smiling yes, and hoping my life jacket can save me in the event I fall. A good place to sit to ensure that goals #1 and 2 were met, right?

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Loving the Class 3 rapids of the Noguera Pallaresa

What an ambitious adrenaline seeker I was that day that I was even up for the challenge of paddling with my eyes closed:

Eyes shut to try and keep the water out while rafting.

Things started getting really adventurous in the brief, but powerful class 4 rapids. For the first time, I started thinking that it would actually be possible to get thrown out…

Getting drenched while rafting Class 4 rapids on the Noguera Pallaresa

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Noguera Pallaresa: The Real Experience

And a second later, I found myself somersaulting out of the raft and into the water gasping for air as I pulled myself to the surface above the rapids. The water came up to my waist, but was very powerful – as rapids tend to be! I could hear voices and not the usual ones in my head – I kid, well mostly…but couldn’t make out any words.

The rapids were too loud. I wasn’t swimming, just dragging along the bottom of the river bed, knees seeming to catch every sharp rock along the way. Over the crush of the waves, I saw a yellow burst of color, aka a paddle! I reached out, drag, drag, drag, scrape, scrape, scrape. I panicked. I’m going to get stuck on a rock and end up breaking a bone – my worst fear, is to break a bone and not be under anesthetic. Drag, drag, drag some more.

Finally, I reached the boat, but too exhausted and in shock, could barely make an effort to pull myself back into the boat. Marco, my hero! Thank you for pulling me up, especially since I had been indulging a little too much in Catalan cuisine. In a display of the most inelegant kind, I found myself in a heap on the bottom of the raft.

Close to hyperventilating, and resembling a drowned raft, but safe again in the raft. I took a minute to catch my rasping breath, then hauled my bruised body onto the side of the raft and started paddling.

A couple of minutes later I was smiling again. The bruises would disappear after a couple of weeks, but getting thrown out of a raft? That’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Now that is what you call an adventurous river rafting

Oh wait, did I just inadvertently tempt the universe again?

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Rafting the Noguera Pallaresa in Catalonia: What You Need to Know:

  • Despite getting drenched and thrown out of the raft, I loved every minute of it!
  • Rafting season unofficially starts on Memorial day up to October. The water is really cold in September, hence goal #1.
  • Our white-water rafting tour was booked through Rubber River in Sort.
  • Budget-friendly river rafting costs between €41 – €96 a person depending on the length of the trip you choose.
  • You will be accompanied by a professional guide during your sort rafting trip.
  • All safety gear including neoprene shoes is provided for you.
  • In addition to rafting, Rubber River (my rafting provider of choice) also offers kayaking, canoeing, canyoning experience, bungee jumping, horseback riding, and more exciting activities.
  • While you’re in the Pyrenees, I also recommend hiking the Vall de Núria.

Where to Stay Near the Noguera Pallaresa

If you would like to stay over to enjoy more adrenaline pumping activities, Sort is a beautiful little town and you’ll have enough time to try everything at least once besides the white rafting. Hotel Florido is highly rated and offers a lot of tours from the property.

The hotel is comfy and has great gardens so you can enjoy quiet walks when you aren’t doing something adventurous. The hotel even offers a quaint little cafe bar. During winter it is a perfect place to stay to enjoy the skiing opportunities in the area.

If you looking for a little pampering mixed in with the thrill then Hotel Restaurant Pessets & SPA is a great fit. This 4-Star hotel is located in the town of Sort. Enjoy a break in the sauna or a relaxing massage after your day of excitement. The hotel also has a restaurant that serves great local cuisine.

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Noguera Pallaresa was nothing but an adventure. Next time I’ll try my best not to tempt the universe with my questions and hope that I stay dry.

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